Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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10 Common Interior Home Repairs


Find out how to tackle 10 common interior repairs around your home, including popped drywall nails, running toilets, clogged drains, leaky faucets, squeaky floors, and water stains on a ceiling. Watch this video to find out more. ...More




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10 Common Interior Home Repairs

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Many interior repairs around your home aren’t that hard to fix if you know how. Watch this video to find out how to make these 10 common interior repairs:

  1. Keep a door open without using a door stop.
  2. Cover a water stain on a ceiling.
  3. Fix a popped drywall nail.
  4. Repair a towel rod that pulled out of the wall.
  5. Unclog a tub drain.
  6. Replace the washer on a faucet.
  7. Stop a toilet from running.
  8. Replace a broken floor tile.
  9. Fix stained grout between tile.
  10. Stop a floor from squeaking.

Read episode article to find out more.



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Danny Lipford: This week we have some very easy solutions to some of the most common interior repairs. I bet a few of them are on your list.

Announcer: Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford. The voice of home improvement with projects, tips and ideas to help you improve your home.

Danny Lipford: One of the most popular shows we’ve ever done is where we offered solutions to some of the very common problems that we all face as homeowners. Well, this week we have a whole new batch of interior repairs that I’m sure you can use around your home.

Now, one of the most frustrating things that can happen around a home is you have a door that just won’t stay where you want it. That it just kind of has a mind of its own. Well, there’s a very simple remedy for that. First, take a hammer and a nail punch or a fairly good sized nail and you remove the hinge pin. Then, use a small block of wood like this little piece of two by four, and you just put a slight bend on the hinge pin and put it right back in. And that creates just the right amount of friction that will allow you to put the door right where you want it, and it’ll stay.

Hey, we have a lot more little simple repairs that can help you out. So stay with us.

Danny Lipford: One interior repair that many homeowners are just not sure how to approach is how to cover up a dark stain on a ceiling like this. Of course a stain like that’s the result of some kind of leak, whether it’s a roof leak, or, in this case, it’s actually a bath tub up on the second floor that had been leaking for a number of months. And that has been repaired, which is the first step in taking care of a problem like this, is make sure that you’re taking care of whatever is causing the stain in the first place.

Now, you could take latex paint and put right over it, and it would camouflage it for a little bit, but actually the stain would eventually come back through, so what needs to be done is to block out that stain by using a stain sealer or stain blocker.

We’re using a spray can which is pretty convenient for especially a popcorn ceiling or a textured ceiling like this because if you put a brush up there, you’re liable to get a little bit of the texture to start falling off. What we’re going to do is shake it up real well, and then we’re going to apply a real light coat over the stain. You don’t want to put too much on it because it’ll drip on you. And then we’ll let that dry and see if we need a second coat. Now in some cases, the color just won’t quite match and you’ll have to paint the entire ceiling, but either way, this looks a lot better than it did before.

Now, here’s another real common drywall problem that we find, especially on a wall like this. It’s adjacent to a staircase where people are running up and down the stairs causing a little bit of vibration and that will many times cause a nail to back out just a little bit and cause a little bubble like this.

Now, a dry wall pop, as we call it like this, can be repaired fairly easy, but you will need just a few tools, like a cordless drill driver, a six-inch drywall knife, a flat screwdriver, and a pair of pliers to remove the old nail.

The first step is to get to the nail by digging into the raised spot with your screwdriver you’ll quickly find the head of the drywall nail that’s the culprit that started this whole thing. When you clear the material around it, you can grab it with the pliers, and pull it out by twisting it back and forth before you clear off any of the torn drywall paper and other debris. Since the nails are what hold the drywall to the studs, they have to be replaced. But instead of new nails, you’ll want to use drywall screws to prevent this from happening again. A screw on either side of the spot where the nail came out is all you really need but you’ll just want to recess them just below the surface of the drywall. Too shallow and you can’t cover them up. Too deep, and they won’t hold the drywall in place.

Now, you’re ready to begin concealing the repair with joint compound. This first coat will need to fill the voids left by the nails, and it should cover the whole area well. Firm pressure on the knife will force the compound into the holes, then feather it out to the surrounding surface. You’ll probably need a second coat after the first one dries since joint compound often strengths as it cures. Again, a thick coat feathers out around the edges.

If your wall has a texture like this one, you’ll need to match it to hide the patch, so a third thin compound of coat is applied after the second one is dry. A slightly damp paint roller works well to add texture to the repair if you gently roll it over the area and blend it to the surrounding wall. When that’s dry, you’re ready for a coat of paint to complete the fix. Now that the homeowner has touched up the wall with the wall paint, you can’t tell well the nail pops were.

Now, another situation that’s very frustrating for homeowners, and does require a little bit of drywall repair from time to time, is when a towel rod pulls off of the wall. Most often this happens because the bar was never attached to the studs behind the drywall, just the drywall itself. Though they’re not intended to support a lot of weight, towel bars do wind up getting tugged on a bit, so if they aren’t located over studs, the best solution to repair them properly is to use a toggle bolt. This odd looking piece of hardware is ideal for this situation because it spreads out the load you’re supporting over several inches of drywall.

First, you insert the bolt into whatever it is you’re mounting, then thread on the toggle itself. You’ll want to squeeze the spring loaded wings to the closed position so that you can feed it into the wall. In some cases, you may have to open up the hole in the drywall a bit to accommodate the toggle, but once the bolt goes through the wall, the toggle spreads out on the backside, anchoring the bolt in the drywall. At first, a little outward pressure is required from the front side to keep the toggle tight against the wall, but once the bolt is tightened up, it’s strong enough to secure a towel bar or almost anything else you need to mount on a wall. This type of repair also works real well for a toilet paper holder, or say a curtain rod that’s pulled out of the drywall.

Now you can see we’re looking at some very simple repairs this week, and we’ve shown you a number of ways to repair walls and ceilings around your home. And now we’re at the center of a lot of simple home repairs, the bathroom. If the bathroom’s not working, no one in the house is happy. So, when we come back, we’ll show you some simple things you can do to get your bathroom in top shape, right after our Simple Solution.

Announcer: It’s time for this week’s Simple Solution from home repair expert Joe Truini.

Joe Truini: Every home improvement project starts with calculating the amount of materials you’re going to need. That’s why it’s a great idea to keep an electronic calculator in your workshop or tool box. Now the problem with keeping a calculator in a dusty environment is that dust or glue or dirt from your hands can get inside the keys and keep them from operating.

Now, what I’ve find that works really well is to keep the calculator in the food storage bag. Now, this type has a press and seal top that will keep the calculator clean. You just slip it in, seal up the top, then you can operate the calculator right through the bag without ever taking it out except to change the batteries. The other nice thing about the bag is that you can then put a binder clip on it and you conveniently hang it right on your peg board. And with this arrangement, you can actually operate the calculator right through the bag without ever taking it off the pegboard.

Danny Lipford: This week, we’re looking at 10 of the most common repairs that may be needed around your home and providing you a few solutions. Now, inevitably, on your to-do list, are probably a few plumbing repairs that are needed around your home.

Now, plumbing repairs is very important because they can cost you a lot of money in wasted water, and they really serve as a general kind of aggravation if you have a situation like this where you have a slow draining tub. It’s harder to keep the tub clean and it’s not as healthy as it would be if the water drained very quickly like it should. Now, something like this is very easy to repair, and it starts with removing the escutcheon to gain access to the drain assembly. The problem is that very often, the drain assembly, which opens and closes the drain, depending on which way you move the handle, can become so clogged with hair and debris that it doesn’t operate properly. The bottom end or bail of this one was full of gunk that was no doubt slowing the flow of water.

To get out even more gunk I’m using a little tool call a drain stick. This two-foot long, flexible rod has tiny bristles on one end just like a small hair brush that are great for snagging hair and goo in the drain and pulling it all out.

For an even more direct attack on the clog, you can remove the drain grate itself to get to the debris trapped inside there as well. As you clear out the clog, it’s a good idea to run fresh water through it to wash away the small debris you may have knocked loose inside the pipes. Then you can replace the drain grate and the drain assembly when the water is flowing freely again.

Our tub drain is working a lot better now and it only took a few minutes to remove the debris once we disassembled the drain assembly. But now we found another problem while we were in the process of that. First of all we saw this little rust colored stain here, and then realized that it apparently is coming from a slow drip on the escutcheon of the cold water side that’s causing that problem and no matter how you turn this down, you can’t stop the water from dripping out. Now, something like this can cost you a lot of money with that steady dripping of water. Your water bill can go way up, but to repair it is very simple and it starts with turning off all of the water to the house.

With the water off, you can begin removing the valve and the first step is taking off the valve handle. This is usually secured with just a single screw. To remove the valve itself you will need a deep well socket wrench to slide over the valve so that you can turn it to unthread it from the valve housing inside the wall.

Once it’s out, you can see another screw on the opposite end of the valve which holds the washer in place. Remove the screw and the washer, then you can replace the washer with a new one of the same size and put the valve back together. A few laps of Teflon tape before you re-thread it will ensure a good seal in the housing, but be careful not to over tighten it. If you strip the threads in the housing, well there’s a call to the plumber in you near future.

A constantly running toilet is also annoying and a giant waste of water as well. There are actually three different reasons for this type of problem and the first two are pretty easy to diagnose and correct. If the water level in the tank is set too high, it will continually run and spill into the overflow tube. By turning the adjustment screw on the inlet valve, you can lower the water level beneath the top of the tube. On some models, this adjustment is made at the top of the tank, but the results are the same.

The second culprit is a leaky flapper valve at the bottom of the tank. You can check this very easily by adding food coloring to the tank water, and watching for it to show up in the bowl without the toilet being flushed. You can also get a closer look at the flapper by turning the water off, flushing the tank to empty, and closely inspecting the flapper. If it’s cracked or warped, it needs to be replaced.

If both of these remedies fail, you may have to replace the working components of the toilet. And fortunately, there are kits that provide all the parts and instructions to effectively rebuild everything inside the toilet tank. In some cases, this may require removing the tank which also makes putting the new components back in a little easier since you don’t have to work in such a tight spot. These kits will vary with manufacturers so follow the instructions with the one you choose.

It’s always great when you complete a few bathroom repairs because those are the kind of problems you face every single day. Now coming up, we’ll continue looking at the ten most common interior repairs as we move to flooring.

Danny Lipford: More and more of the kitchens that we’re remodeling these days are getting two separate ovens, because people who cook or entertain quite a bit find that arrangement fairly convenient. Now this new range from GE gives you two ovens in one single unit, combined with a cooktop. Now that means you can cook several items at different temperatures at the same time, or you can use both ovens for something like cookies so that you don’t have to bake them in separate shifts.

Now the lower oven is smaller so it preheats really fast which is very convenient and it can also be used as a little warming drawer. It also has a removable liner so that you can use it for storage when you’re not cooking or baking with it. Now on top, the range has five different burners and this large oval burner in the middle would be perfect for larger pots and pans, and it’s interchangeable with this nonstick griddle for cooking things like those pancakes in the morning. Now, there’s an extra large burner here in the front that can bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and right behind it, a smaller burner for simmering those delicate sauces. Now, depending on accessories and color, prices will range from $1,200 to $1,900 dollars.

Danny Lipford: We’re continuing our look at the ten most common interior repairs. Now most homeowners would never even consider taking on the task of replacing a broken ceramic tile like this one right in the middle of this kitchen. And this makes it a little harder to repair this one, it is in a very visible area, because a lot of times you can’t find a tile that matches exactly what you already have down. Well, fortunately here this homeowner held on to a few of the tiles leftover when he had this ceramic installed a several years ago. Now, that will make repairing this cracked tile a lot easier and will help us a lot in making it blend in with the rest of the floor. But the trick to making a clean repair is isolating the broken tile from the rest of the floor.

I’m carefully cutting around it with a chisel so that I can remove all of the grout that connects the bad tile to the good ones. This will make it easier to get out, but it also prevents any cracks from transferring to the other tiles as I hammer on the bad one to break it lose. Finally, I’m able to get a chisel under the cracked tile and pry it lose from the floor. Clean up here is pretty easy because these tiles were laid over an old vinyl floor, which is not uncommon. But it does mean you’ll want to use an all purpose thin-set to lay the new tile in, because it will stick best to the vinyl.

For a repair like this one, you rake out the thin-set with a notched trial just like you would if you were laying in the entire floor except that the corners are a bit closer here and you don’t need near as much of the thin-set. From here, it’s pretty easy since we only have just one tile to set. We just make sure the margins are equal all around and press it into place, level with the surrounding tiles.

Now, this will have to dry for several hours before we can apply the grout around it to complete the repair. But once it does, you can spread the new grout over the repair, and force it into the groves with the rubber float so that it lays flush with all of the surrounding old grout. Matching grout can be real tricky, even if you’ve saved some from the original installation, the repair may not match since the grout around the repair likely has seen a stain or two since it first went in.

In fact, stained grout itself is a pretty common repair that can be handled in several different ways. The most common of which is to clean it with a bleach solution, but because grout is so porous, this isn’t always very effective. You can scrape out the old grout and replace it with new grout, but you can imagine, this is a very labor intensive solution and pretty messy. A grout stain sealer will cover the old grout and seal it, preventing the occurrence of any new stains. This process couldn’t be easier since now you can apply these products with a pen, much like hiding the stains with a magic marker.

If you have wood floors you may be faced with a slightly different problem and that’s one of noise. If you have wood floors and they sound like that, that’ll drive you crazy. Now usually, a squeak like that is the result of two pieces of wood rubbing together. Here’s how you can solve that. By spreading a little baby powder over the area that you identify that’s making all of the noise. And you just put a little out like that then take a rag or a paper towel and just kind of force it down into the cracks, just like that. And that’ll provide just a little buffer between the pieces of wood. That way you can sneak down to the kitchen for a snack at night without getting caught.

Now, what if you have a real bad squeak under a piece of carpet? Do you have to take the carpet out? Not anymore. Squeaks beneath carpeted floors are usually the result of lose plywood subfloors and this little kit is perfectly designed for securing those with everything included but a drill and tape measure. The first challenge is finding a joist since you can’t see the nail heads through the carpet. To find the joist, you’ll drive this four and a half inch screw, which is only threaded for about an inch, into the floor where you think a joist might be. If it won’t back out, then you know you’ve missed the joist and you’ll need to pull on the washer to get it back out. As we discovered, this takes a little bit of trial and error, but soon we found the joist and that’s when we’re ready for the next step.

This three legged guide goes directly over the spot where the screw will be set, and the special screws provided with the kit are driven down through the center. The guide will stop the screw at exactly the right depth. Then you remove the guide and use one of its especially designed legs to grip and snap off the screw, which will break off just below the surface of the plywood, holding the subflooring down without leaving anything sticking up. After the first screw is located, the rest are easier since you can go along the joist or sixteen inches over the next one. Pretty soon, no more squeaks.

Tricia Craven Worley: I’m sure you have a friend that has one gadget of everything for their garden, like my friend Bill. But you know, if you’re not one of those people, or happen to have the good luck to live next door to one of those people that you can just borrow something for the afternoon, you might consider renting the next time you have a project.

Now, of course, I have a mower and actually I have a tiller for our garden because I do a lot of projects that require that. But, if you have just a special project that you’re going to do maybe once a year or just a couple of times a year, you really might consider renting.

Now, you can rent anything from power washers to aerators, chainsaws, dethatchers, all of these kinds of things are available for you to rent and when you think about renting, think about, well how many times am I going to use it. Am I going to use it a lot? Maybe you should buy it. But if it’s just now and then, you really might consider renting it. And don’t forget, when you rent, you don’t to have maintain it. It’s always going to be in great shape for you, and it’s always going to be ready.

Danny Lipford: This week we looked at ten very simple repairs that, if you address these problems when they’re very simple, you’ll end up saving some money so that they don’t lead to more costly repairs down the road. And in the case of some of the plumbing repairs, you’ll end up saving money every month on your water bill.

I know we just scratched the surface and you may be faced with some other repairs that we didn’t get a chance to cover. Well, We want to know about them. Go to our website at todayshomeowner.com, click on our feedback button, and let us know about them. Maybe we can address it in an upcoming show. I’m Danny Lipford. We’ll see you soon.

Next week we expand a kitchen to improve its function and its view.